Commemorated on April 13
Artemon was born of Christian parents in Syrian Laodiceia in the first half
of the III Century. From the time of his youthful years he dedicated himself to
the service of the Church. At 16 years of age the saint was made a reader and
in this position he laboured during the course of 12 years. For his zealousness
in Divine Services, Sainted-bishop Sisinios ordained him to the dignity of
deacon. Saint Artemon did also this service with fervour and diligence for 28
years, after which he was ordained to the priesthood. And in this dignity Saint
Artemon served the Church of God for 33 years, preaching the Christian faith
amongst pagans. When the emperor Diocletian (284-305) began a fierce
persecution against christians, Saint Artemon was already old. The emperor
issued an edict, that all christians were to offer sacrifice to idols.
knowing about the impending arrival in the Laodiceian district of the
military-commander Patricius, went together with the priest Artemon into the
pagan-temple of the goddess Artemis. There they smashed and burnt the idols.
Sisinios and Saint Artemon gathered the flock into the church and heatedly
exhorted the christians to remain firm in the faith and not fear the threats of
Having arrived in
Laodiceia, Patricius made a five-day celebration in honour of the pagan gods,
and then went off to the temple of Artemis to offer sacrifice. He learnt who it
was that had destroyed the temple, and set off with a detachment of soldiers to
the church where the christians were praying. Not yet having gotten in front of
the church, Patricius suddenly felt a chill, and afterwards heat, such that it
left him hardly alive, and they entered into the first house they found along
the way. "The Christians have put a curse on me, and this their God
tormenteth me", – he said to those about him. The prayers of Patricius to
the idols did not relieve his sufferings. He dispatched a messenger to Saint
Sisinios and asked for his help, promising by way of thanks to make a gold
statue of the bishop. The Saint answered: "Thy gold keep to thyself, but
if thou wishest to be healed, believe in Christ".
Patricius was afraid
of dying and he declared that he believed in Christ. Through the prayer of
Saint Sisinios the affliction left him. But even a miracle having been worked
did not alter the obdurate soul of the pagan. Although he did not touch Saint
Sisinios, he however set off to enforce the imperial edict against other
christians in the city of Caesarea. Along the way he encountered an old man,
for whom there went in pairs six wild donkeys and two deer. This man was the
To Patricius' query,
how he was able to lead after him these wild beasts, Saint Artemon answered,
that everything in the world confesses the Name of Christ and with true faith
in Christ nothing is impossible.
from the pagans that the old man he met along the way – was the same Artemon,
who had destroyed the pagan temple of Artemis. He gave orders to seize him and
take him to the city of Caesarea.
Saint Artemon went
along with the soldiers without fear, but he ordered the animals to go to Saint
One of the donkeys
received the gift of speech from God and told the sainted-bishop that he had
come from Saint Artemon. The sainted-bishop sent him in Caesarea a blessing and
prosphora by deacon.
In Caesarea Patricius
summoned Saint Artemon to trial and began to try to force him to offer
sacrifice in the pagan temple of Asclepios. In this pagan temple there lived
many poisonous vipers. The pagan priest never opened up the doors, nor
previously carried in the sacrifice to the idol. But Saint Artemon, calling on
the Name of Jesus Christ, went into the temple and let out from there the
plethora of snakes. The pagans turned in flight, but the saint stopped them and
by his breath killed the snakes. One of the pagan priests, Bitalios, believed
in Christ and asked Saint Artemon to baptise him.
that Saint Artemon killed the snakes by means of sorcery, and he again started
to interrogate and torture him. At this point in time there arrived in Caesarea
the donkey which had spoken with Saint Sisinios. The donkey lay down at the
feet of the martyr, and afterwards again having received from God the gift of
speech, it denounced Patricius, predicting for him an impending death in a
boiling cauldron. Patricius was scared, that the miracles done by Saint Artemon
would draw still more people to him, and he gave orders to execute him.
The filled an
enormous cauldron with boiling tar. Soldiers were needed to throw Saint Artemon
therein. But when Patricius rode up on horseback to the kettle, wanting to be
sure that the tar was indeed boiling, two Angels in the guise of eagles seized
and threw him into the cauldron, but Saint Artemon remained alive. Through the
prayer of the saint there issued from the ground a spring of water, in which he
baptised the pagan priest Bitalios and many pagans, who had come to believe in
Christ. On the following morning Saint Artemon communed the newly-baptised with
the Holy Mysteries.
The bishop of
Caesarea went to visit with Saint Artemon. He cleared off the place where the
martyr suffered, and afterwards was built a church there. Many of the baptised
were ordained to the deaconate and priesthood, and Bitalios was made bishop of
Palestine. The Priestmartyr Artemon, through a calling by the Divine Voice,
went preaching the Gospel into Asia, to the settlement of Bulos. Along the way
an Angel appeared to him and transported him openly in view of the villagers.
He converted many there to faith in Christ. Pagans seized the saint and
beheaded him (+ 303).
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.